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Study Abroad Blog

The Truth about Traveling Abroad

Over our 9 nights of spring break, two friends and I traveled to Glasgow, Scotland, Dublin, Ireland, and Berlin, Germany. Staying in each place for 3 nights, it was a whirlwind of a trip that left us full of new experiences and drained of energy. As I ventured around with my camera, I found myself challenged to document my experiences without taking the "typical tourist travel photo". This urge to see the unseen drove me to document the cities I was in as they really were rather than what you may find in a Google image search.

In my efforts to engage myself with the subject in a different way, I realized that what people tell you about traveling abroad is not always true. When we announce to friends and family members that we are going abroad, they immediately inform us of the most common expectations of the experience. Here are a few common ones along with how I have experienced being abroad instead:

"You'll make so many new friends!"

Even though yes, it is true that I have made new friends, coming abroad with two of my best friends from home made our relationships even stronger. Still independent from each other, I am so grateful that I spent my time here making memories with the people I love most.

"Get out and see the world! Do everything you can!"

This one is reoccurring for me because I feel everyone asking me how much I did in saw in each place I visited. Sometimes visiting a new place and just sitting somewhere to take it all in can be more productive then trying to visit every tourist spot quickly. This day in Dublin my friends and I stopped for an hour long sun-nap and it was so lovely.

 A nap in Dublin

"Immerse yourself in the culture!"

Yes, indeed. I feel that I immersed myself while in Paris for sure, but how is one supposed to immerse in a matter of days? This is the way I interacted with the "culture" of Berlin which in real life is quite grimier then some may let on but most definitely beautiful exactly that way.

So my advice? Traveling is necessary to gain perspective on your life at home. It doesn't mean that you have to force yourself out of your comfort zone, or meet anyone else's expectations of what being abroad means. Even if you find that you don't like the city you are visiting, it is an experience! You can further understand who you are as a person and what you want out of life by what you like and equally by what you dislike. Go out, see and do, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.
 Don't forget to stop and smell the daffodils!

Morgan Mein is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO Photographer in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at Chapman University.

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